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One housing first to rule them all?.

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Parity, 30(8), 30-31

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This article explores the implementation and adaptation of the Housing First model in the New Zealand context.

The study aims to understand how Housing First principles are applied in New Zealand, particularly in relation to the country’s welfare policies and Te Tiriti O Waitangi. The Housing First model, originally designed to address long-term homelessness among individuals with mental illness and addiction issues in the United States, has been adapted in various countries to suit local needs and contexts. The authors emphasise that there is no universal model of Housing First; rather, its implementation varies internationally in terms of service design, delivery mechanisms, and intensity of support provided. In New Zealand, the adaptation of Housing First is influenced by the need for culturally appropriate services, especially for Māori populations. The research highlights the importance of designing services that incorporate Indigenous knowledge and models of health and well-being, while acknowledging the challenges posed by the lack of culturally appropriate housing models. The article cautions against the pitfalls of translating Housing First principles into policy and practice without adequate resources. It cites examples from Budapest and Australia where inadequate government support hindered the effectiveness of Housing First programs. The need for strong collaboration and coordination at various organisational levels is stressed, along with the importance of leadership and staff skilled in implementing services that adhere to the principles of Housing First. The article concludes by noting the advocacy efforts in New Zealand for a national strategy to end homelessness and the incorporation of Housing First principles in various national documents and reports. It acknowledges the challenges posed by the current housing market and the need for a significant increase in social housing to ensure the successful implementation of Housing First in New Zealand.

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